Home > Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District > Woo on the Water Board, Capitalism aside

Woo on the Water Board, Capitalism aside

Congratulations to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District for choosing to fill a vacant seat on its board with a highly qualified candidate, Sheri Woo.

The board had been split between Woo, an environmental engineer, and Ben Shepherd of the Humboldt Coalition of Property [development] Rights.

Water District member Bruce Rupp broke ranks and cast a vote for Woo, despite having supported Shepherd.  Rupp said Shepherd shares his view that Capitalism is good for the country.

It should go without saying that reverence for an economic system that puts profit over people is hardly a qualification for a seat on the Water District.

In Michael Moore’s movie Capitalism, A Love Story, he reports on companies that take out life insurance policies on its employees, thereby reaping profits when they die. You can read the extensive list here, which includes Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Sherwin-Williams, PacifiCorp, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and AT&T.

The movie is a 2 and a half hour rebuke of the system that considers workers “peasants,” and anyone who steps into Humboldt County for five minutes knows what capitalism has done to our natural resources.

  1. Big Al
    November 10, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Ben was my 6th grade teacher

  2. Reinventing The Wheel
    November 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Speculating on non-performing humans naturally follows profiteering from their non-performing home and business loans…and all the other predator businesses that greased the skids to economic ruin.

    Until Michael Moore, only academics and popular sci fi thrillers accurately described our culture. Soilent Green, invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Zardoz come to mind.

    How naive to think that multinationals allowed to exploit child labor, toxic chemicals, and corporate hegemony, wouldn’t inevitably come home to do the same.

  3. High Finance
    November 10, 2010 at 10:17 am

    There were TWO highly qualified candidates Heraldo.

    And damn those two radicals, Rupp & Shepard! How dare they think that capitalism is good for our country! Michael Moore is right, socialism is the way to go. That is why Moore donated 99.5% of his $100 million dollars earnings to poor people and now lives in a rented small apartment and drives a Ford Echo.

    Didn’t he?

  4. November 10, 2010 at 10:19 am

    What are Shepherd’s qualifications?

    If Capitalism is good for WalMart, that’s all that matters.

  5. Big Al
    November 10, 2010 at 10:30 am

    the seat on the water board is only a stepping stone to his higher political aspirations.

  6. McKinleyville Kris
    November 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Ben was a member of the McK Community Services board. Other than that, he and his wife owned and ran A&L feed until selling it a few years ago.

    Glad to have someone with the better academic qualifications chosen to fill the post.

  7. Finibuster
    November 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Sheri Woo is a highly qualified engineer. It’s extremely valuable to have her engineering background on the board. I don’t understand why Capitalism enters the argument at all. Sheri is not a socialist. Her husband is co-founder and part owner of a profitable company that works on problems associated with river restoration and fisheries enhancement.

  8. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 11:53 am

    People act like Capitalism and free markets are some sort of contrivance. In reality, trade is the baseline condition and capitalism is simply a social manifestation of the competitive forces that drive ecological systems. Is it ugly sometimes? Sure. But it works better than anything else.

    At the same time government has a role to play in ensuring that the competition is fair and that everyone has the opportunity to participate. It has become fashionable to blame every problem on capitalism, ignoring the massive social and environmental problems communist regimes brought upon their people.

    The beauty of capitalism is the inherent checks and balances created by competition. Far from omnipotent, businesses in a capitalist system face pressures from a myriad of sources including: customers, employees, regulators, competitors, vendors, creditors and investors. Firms succeed by balancing the demands of all these interests. Do capitalists put money above people? I guess it can look that way if your point of view is narrow enough. I suggest instead that they use financial tools to make decisions that balance the needs of a highly diverse and complex set of constituents.

    Ironically, l doubt Michael Moore would have much of a career in China. Dissidents seem to have a tough time there.

  9. Eric Kirk
    November 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    People act like Capitalism and free markets are some sort of contrivance. In reality, trade is the baseline condition and capitalism is simply a social manifestation of the competitive forces that drive ecological systems. Is it ugly sometimes? Sure. But it works better than anything else.

    The market system is a base condition, but capitalism is a market-driven contrived system w which arose out of post-feudal mercantilism, and it is not always conducive to the market system. It can even thwart the market system through monopolies as accumulated wealth has a tendency to settle and condensate around a few centers which then acquire the power to restructure the economy and circumvent market competition – and often they don’t need any help from the state to do it.

    What people don’t understand about Keynesianism is that it was designed to save capitalism from socialism through inoculation with a little bit of socialism.

    Incidentally, you might want to watch Moore’s film before commenting on it.

  10. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    By the way, businesses buy life insurance on some employees for various reasons. Often called “Key Man Insurance” sexism aside, it is used protect a business from the unexpected loss of a key employee. There are often situations where a particular employee’s talents are so critical to a business that their unexpected death would do real damage, putting the interests of customers, employees and owners at risk. Life insurance is one way to cover lost revenues (where paychecks come from) and cover the cost of recruiting and training a replacement.

  11. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks Eric,

    That was the point I made in the second paragraph.

  12. Cycling guy
    November 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I don’t recall partisanship being an issue on the HBMWD Board in the past. Perhaps the Board has recently attracted candidates with political aspirations, who see the Board as a stepping stone, rather than folks focused on technical competence related to secure water rights and cost-effective water delivery.

  13. Sam Spade
    November 10, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    “The beauty of capitalism is the inherent checks and balances created by competition.” Anon 11:53
    It amazes me that 99% of Uhmericans do not know the difference between Free Enterprise and Capitalism, hence the confusion and myths Mother Culture constantly whispers to us thousands of times in our lives, like Anon 11:53. Free Enterprise is simply the freedom do conduct private enterprise on a level playing field with ALL other competitors (i.e. all regulations and taxes applied equally) and Capitalism is simply the acquisition of capital, wealth. Capitalism does not create competition, Free Enterprise does. Free Enterprise is conducive to competition, Capitalism thrives from monopolies and other PREDITORIAL business practices. Trillion dollar bailouts/welfare checks are not Free Enterprise, they are financial assistance for the Capitalist. Free Enterprise creates opportunities for all to grow and prosper. Capitalism creates a minimum-wage slave class of underpaid consuming sheep. Free Enterprise is a local record store; Capitalism is Sam Goody being merged into FYE. The differences are profound. But not in the Land of Idiocracy. Through the dumbing down of Uhmerica, no one knows the difference. Isn’t this convenient?

  14. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    “… anyone who steps into Humboldt County for five minutes knows what capitalism has done to our natural resources.”

    Because the natural resources in China, Russia and North Korea are pristine? Why are socialist and green used synonymously? Seems like the environmental community would make more headway by separating them.

  15. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    12:25 exactly nailed it. There are not always terrible, awful reasons why companies do the things they do. The more naive and inexperienced always assume the worst though.

  16. Heidi
    November 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Sheri Woo is an outstanding addition to the Board she is clear headed, concise, able to read, understand and communicate highly technical documents, she has a depth of understanding in many areas. And as long as she is not grading your technical writing, a fantastic choice.

  17. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Capitalism refers only to the idea that the means of production are held privately as opposed to communism where productive capacity is owned communily.

    Competitive and regulatory ideas vary among economists but few espouse the kind of anarchist uber free market that Sam Spade uses in hs definition.

  18. Sam Spade
    November 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Anon 2:30 “Capitalism refers only to the idea that the means of production are held privately..” What kind of Economist? Capitalist? Jeez-O-Pete, the Dumbing Down of Uhmerica is taking it’s toll. A smart 5th grader knows the differnce between the Freedom to conduct enterprise (mom & pop store) Vs. Preditorial Capitalism (Wal*Mart, Costco, etc.)

  19. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Free Enterprise is the idea that business should be unfettered by government intervention. Time to buy a dictionary guys.

  20. Sam Spade
    November 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Anon 2:57 “Free Enterprise is the idea that business should be unfettered by government intervention.”
    The Dumbing Down continues. “Unfettered by government intervention” is a MYTH. Regarding taxes, building regulations, mandated insurance, mandated workman’s comp: All are government intervention. As I said, Free Enterprise is simply the Freedom to conduct business enterprise on a level playing field with all other competition, period. Same tax schedule, same insurance requirements, same building regs, and same workman’s comp. Jeez Haroldo, where did you find all these poorly educated Uhmericans?

  21. Bolithio
    November 10, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    “… anyone who steps into Humboldt County for five minutes knows what capitalism has done to our natural resources.”

    Give me a break.

  22. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Sam,

    Look it up. Not saying it exists or that I like it only that you are confused about the definitions of both capitalism and free enterprise.

  23. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    The problem is that when you substitute your own definitions for things it makes meaningful discourse impossible. Call it what you want but if you waste all of your breath arguing about the meaning of the words, the merits (or lack) of the ideas will be lost.

  24. Sam Spade
    November 10, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Anon 3:38 I am not confused, our society is because the Dumbing Down of Uhmerica helps advertisers (sheep buy more crap than critical thinkers) and it also helps giant multi-national corporations who unload their soon-to-be-landfill crap on us via some Big Box. The folks out there who do not understand the difference between Free Enterprise and Capitalism are not confused; they think they are right when they are wrong. They are NOT the same economic systems. I don’t know why it tweaks people out to find out that two different words have two different meanings. I learned this before 5th grade. (sigh)

  25. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Sam,

    You are right, they do have different meanings, just not yours. Look them up, you are obviously sitting at a computer.

    Capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production and Free Enterprise is a particularly liberal economic viewpoint akin to laissez faire that emphasizes minimal government intervention in markets.

  26. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    The point is that capitalism no more caused clearcutting than communism caused Chernobyl. They were caused by people, who through their inherent and universal flaws, even with the best of intentions will screw things up royally from time to time and no philosophy, political system or technology will stop that.

  27. Sam Spade
    November 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Anon 4:08. Who wrote that? A Capitalist Economist? If a bunch of Economist who are schooled in Capitalist thinking write the definitions, then those two words do mean the same thing. That is part of the agenda, making those words/ideas one and the same. Keeps the sheep dumb, working, and servile.

  28. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    What?

    You obviously have some strong ideas but need to find some different words to express them in order to avoid confusion.

  29. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    That slumlord Bruce Rupp walked right back into office without an election! WTF?

    Where’s Jake Pickering when you need him?

  30. Bolithio
    November 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Comparing clear-cutting to Chernobyl?

    How about:

    “”The point is that capitalism no more caused the extinction of the passenger pigeon than communism caused Chernobyl.””

  31. tra
    November 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    “The point is that capitalism no more caused clearcutting than communism caused Chernobyl.”

    In one sense I agree with the “no more” statement: In the sense that totalitarian communism DID play a big role in causing the Chernobyl disaster and many other ecological disasters in the former Soviet Union, and also that short-term-bottom-line-oriented capitalism DID play a big role in the clearcutting of our forests in recent decades.

    “They were caused by people, who through their inherent and universal flaws, even with the best of intentions will screw things up royally from time to time…”

    True enough, but it’s also worth mentioning that not everyone was acting with the best of intentions in either of those cases.

    “…and no philosophy, political system or technology will stop that.”

    True…but certainly some philosophies and political systems “screw things up royally” more than others do. Totalitarianism, for example, has a lousy track record, as does authoritarianism in general — whether it’s called monarchy, theocracy, dictatorship, military rule, or whatever. Democracy, even with all its flaws, is still an easy choice when compared to any of those options.

    As far as economic systems go, I think it’s pretty well proven that both extremes — laissez-faire capitalism, and soviet-style command-and-control economics — are equally unsustainable and, at least for most people, undesirable.

    In a democratic system, it’s up to us to decide what kind of mix of private and public we want for our economy. Or at least it should be.

  32. tra
    November 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Bolithio,

    4:23 was comparing the role of the political / economic system (totalitarian communism) in causing or at least allowing Chernobyl to happen to the role of our own political / economic system in causing or at least allowing clearcutting — not directly comparing Chernobyl to clearcutting. At least that’s how I interpreted the comment.

  33. Mr. Brown
    November 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Interesting viewpoints on capitalism, free enterprise, et al. Just shows who has owned and operated a business = has a fucking clue.
    I know Ben and think he is somewhat of a jerk at times. But he doesn’t have some big ambition for higher office. That time came and went for him. He is just dedicated to doing what he thinks is the right thing. May not be what you think, but then did you put your name in?

  34. Anon
    November 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Have to agree with “Mr. Brown”. Ben served on the McKinleyville Community Services Board for a good number of years and completly understands how the money is divvied up between the cities and “non cities” such as McKinleyville. This is not about water quality – we already have that. This is about rates and future repairs that affect the rates and I don’t know if Woo has any experience on how the water board even establishes the rates. That will be the key issue with the pulp mill being shut down. I hope Woo doesn’t think our water quality should be better and want to spend more money for that one.

    This is not a stepping stone for anyone – who has moved up to another political issue or any voted political assignment?? I could have supported the third person even – Starr Killian has he was on the Fieldbrook CSD for years and understands how the District works. Woo may have a real learning curve here folks!

  35. High Finance
    November 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    From my Websters;

    Free Enterprise: Freedom of private business to organize & operate for profit in a competitive system without interference by government beyond regulation necessary to protect public interest & keep the national economy in balance.

    Capitalism: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by privated decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production and the distribution of goods mainly by competition in a free market.

    What both definitions have in common is freedom from government control except for the minimum necessary to protect the public interest.

    Both have made America the most powerful economic system in the history of the world.

    And both are under attack in modern day America, especially in California.

  36. Bolithio
    November 10, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I get his point tra, it just would resonate better around here if it wasn’t comparing nuclear melt down with trees being cut down. Huge difference.

    (We cut allot allot of trees around here and dont really consider that act on par with Chernobyl.)

  37. Bolithio
    November 10, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    What both definitions have in common is freedom from government control except for the minimum necessary to protect the public interest.

    Ya, and its that definition that everyone disagrees on. Who knows whats in the public’s best interest anyways? The government? An oil company?

  38. tra
    November 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I do. Heh.

  39. Jack Durham
    November 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    The HBMWD is, by definition, a socialized water system that compliments a somewhat free enterprise system. In McKinleyvilke, we have a capitalist system that is supported by a socialized water and sewer system. We even have a socialized landscape zone, which is supported by the chamber and local businesses, including mine.

  40. Anonymous
    November 10, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks tra,

    Perhaps the comparison was a bit extreme. One gets the sense on these blogs (right and left) that if only _______________ happened everything would be OK. The real world is so complex with so many competing interests (some belevolent some not) that placing blame on a political or economic system is ridiculous. I believe as a people and a plannet we are best served by a system that is flexible, respects the minortiy and uses competitve checks and balances. Our system of capitalist democracy is far from perfect to be sure, but is has been flexible enough to change as society has evolved (not quickly enough for some and too quickly for others), gives everyone the opportunity to succeed (not equally but opportunity none the less) and most importantly allows dissent and gives the minority a disproportinately strong voice.

    Is corporate influence too strong? Perhaps, but only because we allow it to be. As I noted in an earlier post, business is stuck between its customers, employees, creditors, owners, regulators and competitors; AND WE ARE THEM.

    If we are to enact real change however we must refrain from conspiracy theories and inflamatory rhetoric. Instead, be objective, thourough, truthfull and fair. Act from hope not fear.

    Together as humans we are capable of great things, but only together.

  41. November 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    The truly propagandized go around spreading lies about socialism, while Germany, a socialist country; worries about how to spend its 600 billion dollar budget surplus.

  42. Anon
    November 10, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Getting back to the HBMWD decision, Ben Shepherd was a candidate in the last election and was the runner up, can we call this Democracy Limited?

    I don’t agree with Mr Shepherds land use views but to demonize him for them is pointless. He served 4 terms on the Mckinleyville Community Service District board and he would be good on the HBMWD board.When Ben started on the MCSD board, he was the lone liberal Democrat whippersnapper.

    Sheri Woo seems like she will be a good board member, great professional qualifications,just don’t know her.

  43. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    November 11, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Moviedad,

    Germany is also benefitting HUGE from an imbalance in the money supplies and monetary exchange rates that are created by the falling dollar due to America’s insatiable desire to spend money (err credit) on consumer goods and services that no CURRENT money exists to pay for. So, maybe we can just agree that no matter what the SYSTEM IS, GREED STILL DESTROYS!

    Regarding the video – interesting how the word capitalism then gets connected to a person who uses the word and Michael Moore (HYPOCRIT). As HiFi implied, Michael Moore is a true socialist because he donates 90% od his earnings or wealth.

    Is it not amazing that “no capitalism” wannabes can’t ever wannabe anything they preach of? What happened to, “do as I say, not as I do”? Oh ya, as if that’ll change!

    JL

  44. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    November 11, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Only in Amnerica can a Socialist profit from capitalism and still claim the roots of socialism as the guiding source of enlightenment.

    JL

  45. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 at 6:24 am

    ben is still a liberal, the bar has just been moved to the left.

  46. Dont be fooled again
    November 11, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Well said Anon 10:04! Love and responsibility are ever so much more effective than fear and blame in achieving a healthy body and spirit – be it individually, culturally or universally. Thank you for sharing that. It is truth.

  47. hi as !@#$'n fi
    November 11, 2010 at 7:07 am

    all human economic systems are sub-systems of local and global ecosystems. OF COURSE the “market” is a human contrivance. show me where in nature the calculations of market driven thinking/action occurs in natural systems. In fact, competition is only one aspect of interaction in natural systems along with various forms of mutualism. the exaltation of competition misses more than half the point.

    ultimately, any community of organisms that overshoots its carrying capacity will result in overshoot and then die-off. no species is immune from this biological reality that rules all markets along with all life on this planet.

    capitalism is but a passing faze. for most of human existence (the hundreds of thousands of years preceding the recent short 10,000 year period since the advent of so-called civilization), the systemic pathological greed of imagined “infinite wants” would have been seen as the mental illness that it is.

  48. Ne'er-do-well
    November 11, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Henchy, thanks for the italics. Wouldn’t want to leave it up to me to figure out what part of your fucking idiotic post is important.

  49. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    November 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Ne’er not doing so swell,

    Dare the truth got you mad again?

    JL

  50. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Only in America can a capitalist benefit from socialism for both himself and his employees and still declare with a straight face that he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

  51. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 at 10:40 am

    And vice versa.

  52. Reinventing The Wheel
    November 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Behold: The Heraldo Blog once again reveals the tyranny in every Human culture and those who are willing to condemn it, versus those willing to hide and excuse it.

    “the systemic pathological greed of imagined “infinite wants” would have been seen (by all our ancient ancestors), as the mental illness that it is”. (November 11, 2010 at 7:07 am).

    I read this in “Culture Against Man”, good stuff.

    Americans are attacked for being “communist” when they work together to direct public wealth, legislation and the economy to benefit working-class families.

    But, when the largest corporations interlock their directorates, enjoy the revolving door to government, and author legislation supporting outsourcing, lower Tariffs, less regulations, and offshore tax havens…culminating in the looting of the U.S. Treasury, (again), ….it’s called “Capitalism”?

    Interesting how our “liberal media” never mentions such blatant hypocrisies, or the word “imperialism”. Or, why our local “liberal university” lacks a degree (or even a prerequisite unit) in comparative justice, labor history, negotiation, advocacy, or contract law.

    No wonder 90% of students don’t vote on campus, or graduate to assert themselves in a plutocracy.

    Mission accomplished.

  53. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    “But, when the largest corporations interlock their directorates, enjoy the revolving door to government, and author legislation supporting outsourcing, lower Tariffs, less regulations, and offshore tax havens…culminating in the looting of the U.S. Treasury, (again), ….it’s called “Capitalism”?”

    Only in America are people so dumbed down that they can’t recognize fascism. Apparently if you change the faces of the corporate puppets we get to vote for, it doesn’t matter that the corporations are in complete control.

  54. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Jane you need to attract people to your alternatives more, calling your opponents ‘fascist’ just isn’t sufficient.

    And it’s just this attitude of exclusionary ‘we know better’ control-freakism epidemic amongst the self-appointed leaders of the local left that ruin the chances for their candidates at the ballot box. You have to start doing things differently and quit letting the same old out-of-touch coaches run your losing team.

  55. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Jane,

    Which corporations? Or is there just one? Why do people act as if all businesses are on the same page? For the most part they are working hard to put each other out of business. While a bit more rare there are plenty of progressive leaning businesses leaders like Buffett, Soros, and even Gates. Silicon Valley and Hollywood are full of them.

    Perhaps what you see is that many leaders both corporate and public have a lot in common. They are talented, driven, successful and cant always relate to the plight of those less fortunate.

    Classism is a form of hate too.

  56. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    November 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    7:57 pm above,

    good point about classism. In fact, that’s exactly who “group up” and push school bond yes votes when really considering who the beneficiaries are, monetarily speaking. Endorsement lists are usually a tell-tale of the citizens that gain economically compared to most.

    JL

  57. "HENCHMAN OF JUSTICE"
    November 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    PJ,

    was that a retraction, redaction, reversal or admittance that even you MAY BE confused @ 9:31 am only to about face @ 1:32 pm. You usually seem to confuse socialism and fascism when considering capitalism as resulting bad, but not really considering that capitalism as you blame it is, is really fascism you should blame by name, not capitalism. After-all, capitalists can’t be capitalists if they act fascist or socialist. So really politically, it is fascism and not capitalism that so many socialists are misunderstanding – IT SEEMS IMO.

    JL

  58. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    JL

    Love banging your head against a wall don’t you? All of the things you rail against (while often true enough) aren’t things you can change. Yes, people are short sighted, self serving and narrow minded. All of these traits manifest themselves in our institutions be it a school board, corporation or (god forbid) an environmental charity. The reason democracy works as well as it does is that doesn’t require altruism to function, only diverse self interest.

  59. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Not saying it works well or quickly, just that it screws people over less than other systems. Just wanted to clarify.

  60. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Corporate control of government is fascism. If you don’t realize who is in control of our government, you haven’t been paying attention. The idea that fascism and capitalism are incompatible is hilarious.

  61. Anonymous
    November 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Corporations, PACs, Political Parties, “special interest groups” … the list goes on. These are all ways people organize to accomplish something bigger than themselves. If you agree with them they are “the people” if not we call them “special interest.”

    Ask a lefty and they will complain about corporate control of government and the media. Ask a rightey and they will tell you the problem is government interference and the liberal media. Thing is, both are true from each persons point of view. To me that says things are OK. When the extreme right or left stop complaining it is time to worry.

  62. Plain Jane
    November 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Fascism is capitalism on steroids. The more money you pile on your side of the table, the more the table tilts your way. You can even take a country to war for profit.

  63. November 12, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Why is it whenever you try to have a reasonable conversation about socialism, people start talking about 90% of your wealth given to some entity? What the heck is all that about? what does that have to do with anything? just what the heck are you talking about? The only view of socialism in any form from a lot of Americans, is some sort of fantasy about gulags, and all your wealth to the state, and you take proficiency tests to determine your trade. It’s like a story line from 1957 film noir. What a victory for the ruling class. They’ve made such a fool out of the working class; that he actively attacks any conversation that might lead to his own improvement.
    Why don’t you tally up where 90% of your money is going now.
    I’ve known more than a few Germans. And I’ve never known one who was hurting for money. Same for the Swedes, the Dutch, the French, the Danes….yeah, putting the brakes on corporations and taking care of their people first has really caused them a lot of suffering.

  64. Walt
    November 12, 2010 at 6:18 am

    “Thing is, both are true from each persons point of view. To me that says things are OK. When the extreme right or left stop complaining it is time to worry.” Traditionally that was true, 10:01: the far right and the far left were marginal and the majority were in the center. But the political center, like the middle class, is disappearing. So shooting for the middle is increasing unpopular because NOBODY IS THERE. Things are NOT OK because, like stars in an expanding universe, political elements are all headed in opposite directions. Coalitions are yesterday: now is confrontation.

  65. Anonymous
    November 12, 2010 at 6:25 am

    i think you have it wrong jane. fascists want government control of the corporations and means of production. capitalists don’t want that.

  66. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Wrong 6:25. Fascism is corporate control of government. Of course, once they HAVE control of govt, it looks like govt is controlling the corporations to the clueless.

  67. Harold h. Greene
    November 12, 2010 at 6:53 am

    “You can even take a country to war for profit.”

    yes, for a lie about yellow cake in Niger, we got national corporate media networks riding on top of tanks in the first attack columns of the U.S. invasion of the middle east; we got sold on Home Depot products and Crest toothpaste and beer during the commercial breaks while we watched.

  68. High Finance
    November 12, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Again, from my Webster’s.

    Fascism; A system of government characterized by dictatorship. Belligerent nationalism, militarism, etc.

    Nothing in there about “corporate control”. That only exists in Jane’s mind. Jane thinks corporations are some kind of evil conspiring monolith. That is so far from the truth that it is laughable.

    Corporations are the opposite of conspirators. They are energetic competitors trying to maximize their profits at the expense of other corporations.

  69. Anonymous
    November 12, 2010 at 8:16 am

    and often owned by the public in the form of shares, giving shareholders a chance to benefit in the form of dividends.

  70. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Benito Musolini, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

    When the corporations control government, as they do with campaign contributions and lobbyists as well as industry hacks and corporate funded think tanks writing legislation, they are effectively merged. They don’t have to own EVERY politician to control government, just enough of both parties, and they do and will buy more as needed. When policies are set at the direction of corporations for the benefit of corporations and without regard for the damage they do to the general well being of the populace, it is fascism. The idea that what is good for corporations is the same as what is good for the majority is one of the big lies that fascists tell. That HiFi won’t admit he favors fascism while advocating business control of government, as he does constantly, only proves he is either a liar or a self-deluded fool.

  71. Harold h. Greene
    November 12, 2010 at 8:31 am

    fascism is about totalitarianism with a strong nationalistic bent of the right wing type. That’s what the Oxford dictionary definition describes.

    fascism is a historical movement and is known because of Italy and Spain and Germany during the 30’s. As a political movement it don’t exist.

    Fascism is not the proper term to use in describing how a corporation(s) dominated media, for example, with all the financial interests involved, is able to allow something like the Iraq war to happen.

  72. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Noam Chomsky, “Roughly speaking, I think it’s accurate to say that a corporate elite of managers and owners governs the economy and the political system as well, at least in very large measure. The people, so-called, do exercise an occasional choice among those who Marx once called “the rival factions and adventurers of the ruling class.”

    “Personally I’m in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can’t have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level — there’s a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I’m opposed to political fascism, I’m opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it’s pointless to talk about democracy.”

  73. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Not a dictionary definition, a reality based study of the fascist governments of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile)

    The 14 Characteristics of Fascism (again)

    link

  74. Harold h. Greene
    November 12, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Good link.

    All things considered, I’m opposed to economic totalitarianism. it doesn’t matter what we call it.

  75. tra
    November 12, 2010 at 9:13 am

    “…it doesn’t matter what we call it.”

    It does if you’re trying to persuade anyone. The problem P.J. is having, as I tried to explain in another thread a week or so ago, is that most people use the term “fascism” more or less the way Harold T Greene and HiFi’s dictionaries do:

    “fascism is about totalitarianism with a strong nationalistic bent of the right wing type. That’s what the Oxford dictionary definition describes”

    “Fascism; A system of government characterized by dictatorship. Belligerent nationalism, militarism, etc.”

    Most people are unaware of Mussolini’s statement that “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

    So while Jane may be correct, by Mussolini’s original defintion, in linking corporate power to “fascism,” as a practical matter most readers are going to reject that characterization, because it just isn’t what they think of when they think of “fascism.”

    So if folks want to use the term “fascism” interchangeably with the terms “corporate power,” or “capitalism” or whatever, well you are free to do so…but it’s not going to be a very effective message, and you’re going to end up wasting time fighting a (mostly losing) battle over definitions.

    And remember, the definition of a word is not solely or conclusively defined by the person who coins the term (Mussolini in this case) but by the way the majority of people understand and use the word over time.

  76. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 9:21 am

    So what word would YOU use to describe the political / economic system that is in control of the US today and which is favored by local rightists like HiFi and Crawford, TRA?

  77. Farmer
    November 12, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Comparing clear-cutting with Chernobyl isn’t fair because the human exclusion zone around Chernobyl is actually full of thriving wildlife, whereas our clear-cut forests are not. Where are the huge flocks of Murrelets, abundant schools of Salmon, sprawling colonies of Mountain Beavers? We need to shift our forestry policies to that of habitat restoration and gear it towards perpetual increase of standing timber volume. This translates to: more big trees, more forest habitat, more carbon stored, more big logs for mills (for Green Diamond, a pitiful 18″ is the average diameter of trees clear-cut). Restoration forestry includes using trees for lumber, but balances that need with the rest of our biological needs. It’s totally possible, but like the electric car a few years ago, it doesn’t yet serve the interest of those dominating resource extraction.

    The point is, we can restore our forest lands, but we need responsible forestry with long term vision, not tree farming.

  78. High Finance
    November 12, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Oppressive Jane, oppressive.

    Government types always want power and more power. They love to strangle businesses in red tape. They are costing millions of jobs and billions of dollars with their rules, regulations & paperwork.

    So Farmer, when is the last time you looked at a clear cut forest? Within a short time the place has more wildlife than a dark mature forest can even think of.

  79. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Corporate types always want money and more money to buy power, use that power to gain more money and more power, ad infinitum. They love to strangle the working classes with outsourced jobs, blocking union organization, and benefit cuts for millions of workers while they rack up record profits, buy more government control to deregulate their industries and defund social programs and make even more money to gain even more power. Where does it level off?

  80. Harold h. Greene
    November 12, 2010 at 11:59 am

    “So what word would YOU use to describe the political / economic system that is in control of the US today and which is favored by local rightists like HiFi and Crawford, TRA?”

    wrong.

  81. Anonymous
    November 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    jane, those guys were saying they need the government to act like corporations i.e., one person in charge, everybody does their job, etc. not that the corporations own the government. the fascists don’t care who owns the means of production so much as who has control over them. they want the corporations to produce what the authoritarian figure demands, based on a central plan. they want the labor groups and the owners to work out an equitable deal that has the national interests in mind. capitalists on the other hand want the to own the means of production and leave the government entirely out of the decision making process as far as what to produce.

    we don’t have that in the U.S. as the government dictates to a certain degree what the producers will producers, and what the workers will be paid. it is a mixed system that works pretty well. whatever it is, it is not fascism. you can’t leave out the core of an ideology like the militarism and authoritarianism components of fascism and call it the same thing. it is ignorant.

  82. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Who said I was leaving out militarism and authoritarian components? What part of bases all over the world protecting the assets of corporations under the guise of national security and the Patriot Act, wiretapping, video cameras everywhere and an increasingly invasive police state did you miss?

  83. Plain Jane
    November 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Not to mention increasingly privatized militarism?

  84. tra
    November 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    To kinda-sorta answer your 9:21 question, Jane, I don’t think there is any one perfect word or phrase to sum up the current state of our economy and politics, other than the term “status quo,” and of course that’s not very descriptive.

    Just off the top of my head, a few words/phrases that do come to mind when I think about the more negative aspects of our current political and economic climate are “corporate-dominated,” “militarist,” “bureaucratic,” “elitist” “xenophobic,” “plutocratic,” and “corrupt.” Of course these are not synonyms; they should be applied to the correct situations, not used interchangeably.

    It seems to me that some folks like to (mis)use the term “fascist” as, basically, a way of labeling something (or someone) as “right wing.” But given the problems inherent in misapplying such a loaded term, why not just stick with “right wing,” “radical right” “far right,” etc. Of course the term “right wing” is a lot more vague than “fascist,” as it could cover a lot of ground up to and including fascism, but basically it gets the point across, just in a more effective way.

    And of course the real weakness in any of this left/right labeling is that, sadly, supporters of corporate domination, militarism and so on are not confined to one party or one ideological group.

  85. Plain Jane
    November 13, 2010 at 6:29 am

    TRA, I have never said that all or only Republicans are fascist. I agree that most people don’t know what fascism is, but that doesn’t change what it is. The corruption of our government by corporate money is only going to worsen until people wake up to the reality of what is happening. In a world where political messages have to be delivered in 10 second sound bytes over corporate mass media with powerful 24/7 “news” organizations dedicated to obscuring the issues, explanations of the inevitable result of escalating wealth and power concentration at the top, wars for profit, stagnating working class wages, defunded social programs, environmental degradation and climate change driven by these same corporate behemoths, the beast needs a name. Giving it a nice, friendly name is self-defeating. Btw, all of your words / phrases for our current situation are aspects of fascism. But, of course, you already knew that.

  86. Walt
    November 13, 2010 at 6:54 am

    What’s wrong with “corporatocracy?” Should have a new name since it’s a totally new game.

  87. Harold h. Greene
    November 13, 2010 at 7:04 am

    not to belabor this unnecessarily, but fascism is not the right word to use. though elements of historical fascism can be seen as part of the current right wing political dynamic, it is not at all the same as what was seen in italy or spain or Germany. Most people know that and it’s the reason why using the word fascist to describe our current economic and political dynamic is not helpful.

    It’ s more appropriate to use that word in describing the Roman Catholic Church and it’s opposition to same sex marriage.

    The concentration of wealth in the United States to the 500 most wealthiest families is not fascist – it’s simply wrong.

    I’m just saying.

  88. Anonymous
    November 13, 2010 at 7:16 am

    I agree that most people don’t know what fascism is

    to include yourself.

  89. Plain Jane
    November 13, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Right, Harold. But that isn’t the ONLY issue, is it? Pro-corporate / anti-labor, militarism, xenophobia, scapegoating, sexism, racism, elitism, electoral and government corruption, deceitful media, and nationalism are the other characteristics of fascism which we have in common. You don’t have to be throwing people in ovens to be fascist. Fascism, like every other political system, varies in how extreme it is. It doesn’t take much observation to figure out where we are headed.

  90. Harold h. Greene
    November 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

    well, the concentration of wealth at the top is the most dangerous thing to a strong middle class and a happy working class. To call it fascist without an ideology defers the responsibility for the current state of affairs away from democratic possibilities which I think are still a part of our current political system.

  91. High Finance
    November 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Class envy makes you ugly.

    Well grounded people only look at their own finances to see if they are achieving what they deserve. Normal people do not obsess on the wealth of Bill Gates, George Soros, Robin Arkley or Oprah & hate them for being successful. Only sick people do.

  92. Anonymous
    November 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Maybe we need to redefine “successful”.

  93. mresquan
    November 13, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    ” Normal people do not obsess on the wealth of Bill Gates, George Soros, Robin Arkley or Oprah & hate them for being successful.”

    You may be unfortunately right,as most normal people don’t see how these people became wealthy,largely in part,as a result of taxpayer handouts,or government intervention restricting competition,or deliberate lack of transparency in government in keeping track of how funds generated in particular humanitarian efforts were directed and spent.

  94. Harold h. Greene
    November 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    “Class envy makes you ugly.”

    That’s why it is more important than ever that we are conscious of inequitable wealth distribution policies (Jr.’s tax cuts, for example) we may happen to support.

  95. Anonymous
    November 13, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    It is normal human behavior to think that if one hasn’t achieved the wealth of those famous ones who have or those less than famous ones who have also achieved an impressive amount of wealth, there must be something illegal or unethical about the way it was achieved. Certainly in some cases you must see that the achiever is giving away millions or using wealth to help society. You must see the truth in that and the fact that some wealthy people want to make the world a better place.

  96. High Finance
    November 15, 2010 at 8:42 am

    You really nailed it this time Anon 6.40pm.

    It IS normal human behavior to think that somebody else became fabuously succesful because the system was rigged for them & against us.

    Otherwise we would have to accept the fact that those other people are smarter, work harder & are more driven than us. So instead of accepting our shortcomings we are tempted to hate that other guy.

    But we must not give in to that temptation or we demean ourselves. It is not $80 billion dollar Bill Gate’s fault that George Soros is worth only $40 billion. It is not Soros’s fault that Donald Trump is worth only $3 billion and it is not Trump’s fault that Arkley is worth somewhat less than $1 billion.

    Class envy, wealth envy makes you ugly.

  97. Harold h. Greene
    November 15, 2010 at 8:50 am

    “Class envy, wealth envy makes you ugly.”

    especially all the more reason to reject the Republican party politics behind extending Jr’s tax cuts.

  98. High Finance
    November 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Because you want to be ugly?

    Harold, perhaps you just aren’t paying attention?

  99. Anonymous
    November 15, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Some tax cuts really do encourage churning of the economy. I personally have cut my own spending, of course due to the economy but also because taxes hurt so much more this past few years. I would be buying more items and even maybe some property if things were better. The real estate prices are down, interest rates are low and it would be nice to buy some.

  100. Anonymous
    November 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Can we just agree that Woo will make a great water board member?

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